The three UCLA basketball players arrested on shoplifting charges Tuesday — LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley — will not be on the team’s flight back to Los Angeles following UCLA’s season-opening win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. Instead, according to ESPN, they will remain in Hangzhou for “a week or two” longer.
Ball, Riley and Hill were questioned for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near the team’s hotel in Hangzhou earlier this week, where the team stayed before leaving for Shanghai on Tuesday. They were arrested Tuesday and released on bail early Wednesday morning, however they’ve been staying at a lakeside hotel since as the legal process continues to play itself out, forcing them to miss Friday night’s season-opener.
To pile on to the precarious situation, ESPN also reports that the Louis Vuitton theft isn’t the only store the trio got sticky fingers.
A source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation said the players could be in Hangzhou for “a week or two.” The source noted that there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside of a high-end shopping center, which houses Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo stores.
Although the UCLA trio is out on bond, they are essentially being held on house arrest by Hangzhou police, which are requiring them to remain at the hotel until the legal process is over.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who is in China for the event, addressed the matter again Friday, saying the situation has provided a distraction for what the ultimate goal of the trip was.
“I’m certainly disappointed that we don’t have three UCLA students here to compete in the game today, given that they were involved in an incident that’s being investigated in Hangzhou,” Larry Scott said. “It has provided a real distraction and unwanted publicity, which distracts from what overall has been a tremendous experience and a tremendous week for the UCLA and Georgia Tech students. It has also highlighted the value of our partnership. We’ve received tremendous support from our partners at FUSC [Federation of University Sports of China] and Alibaba. We’ve had a chance to apologize for the unwelcome attention it has brought.”
Scott also added that there’s “nothing new” as it relates to the situation, and that he’s hoping for a quick resolution in the matter.